I propose to take Questions Nos. 76, 77 and 84 together.
For the information of Deputies, it is worthwhile to set out the rationale behind the decision to combine the Irish Museum of Modern Art, Crawford Art Gallery and National Gallery of Ireland while retaining their separate brand identities, and the decision to merge the National Archives, Irish Manuscripts Commission and National Library. These decisions, which were announced in budget 2009, arose from the scrutiny by my Department of administrative costs which was undertaken earlier this year as part of the Government's efficiency review, with a particular focus on the number of State agencies and other bodies and in the context of the ongoing oversight exercised by my Department of these institutions against the backdrop of the 2009 Estimates process.
Deputies may be aware that the programme for Government contains a commitment to put the Irish Museum of Modern Art on a statutory footing. They may also be aware that the legislation underpinning the National Archives has been undergoing critical analysis by the National Archives Advisory Council and officials of my Department, with a view to updating both the functions of the National Archives and the management structures surrounding the archives.
Throughout this process, I was aware that some institutions had reasonably good numbers of support staff. However, the Crawford Art Gallery in Cork which recently came under my Department as a national cultural institution did not have in-house administrative support. Institutions such as this cannot be expected to function efficiently without the normal level of human resources, finance and other back-up.
As well as these particular and individual imperatives, I am obliged to ensure our national cultural institutions function through and are supported by administrative and other structures which are efficient and effective and reflect the principles of modernisation and flexibility set out in Towards 2016.
When one takes all these factors into consideration against the background that the expected continuing pressure on the public purse will not be matched by any decline in expectation or demand for quality customer services, the rationalisation of the support or back office functions within complementary national cultural institutions is not an optional consideration at this time and must be undertaken. Since the budget announcement on this matter, I have initiated a consultative process with the directors of the national cultural institutions involved. They have been requested to consider the future arrangements necessary to give effect to these decisions and bring forward any issues they perceive will need to be specifically addressed under various headings such as legislation, governance, unified management structures, unified support services and resources. I am also establishing consultative committees in respect of each project which will be led by the Department and will have in their membership representatives of the national cultural institutions. These committees will manage the many issues which will arise.
In parallel with this process work will commence on producing heads of a Bill to give effect to the required legislative changes. These changes will include amendment of the National Cultural Institutions Act 1997, National Archives Act 1986 and National Gallery of Ireland Acts 1854 to 1963 and the creation of new legislation. My objective in this development is to seek the best structures for our national cultural institutions in order that, in facing into times of stringency, they can continue to deliver core services to their respective customers to their normal and superlative standards.
I also want to ensure these institutions, which contribute collectively to the 3 million visitors our national cultural institutions receive annually, continue to be a core part of our tourism product. In more discerning tourism markets internationally, the national cultural institutions differentiate us as a destination of distinction and value. This summer, a visitor to Dublin could have viewed works by Bacon, Monet, Gauguin, Freud, Scully and Rembrandt and read original Yeats and Joyce manuscripts before enjoying the Berlin Philharmonic and catching a glimpse of an Oscar winning songwriter. This is the kind of cultural immersion and variety that few cities in Europe can offer. It is entirely appropriate that we continue to invest financially and legislatively in these internationally important institutions in order that they continue to flourish in the new economic environment. It is not possible at this stage to identify what savings, if any, will be realised through this process.